On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!

Design for Growing Independence and Fluency

Kimberly Bosarge

Rationale:  In order for students to comprehend what they read, they must read with fluency.  Fluency refers to a student’s ability to read words accurately and automatically.  The following lesson provides students with an opportunity to develop fluency through timed rereading.


Poster with "My dog likes to run and jump with me."

Individual pieces of paper with the sentence "My dog does tricks when I give him a treat."

One stopwatch for every two students.

Decodable books of varying difficulty, for example, A Cat Nap, Red Gets Fed, Liz is Six, etc. (Phonics Readers Series, 1990).

Progress board with 4 to 5 spaces and matching marker for each student (Ex: tree and monkey or racetrack and car).



#1 – Begin the lesson by explaining how important it is for readers to read quickly and smoothly.  "Not only does it sound better when you read quickly and smoothly, it makes the story easier to understand."   

#2 – Display the poster with "My dog likes to run and jump with me."  Then say:  "I would like to show you what I am talking about.  I am going to read this sentence two times."  For the first time, read the sentence similar to "M-m-m-y-y d-d-o-g-g  l-i-i-kes  t-o  r-u-n-n  a-n-d  j-u-u-m-p  w-w-i-th  m-m-e.  For the second time, read the sentence with fluency.  "Which one was better?  Right, the second one!  What were some things that I did to make it better? 

#3 – "Now I would like you to find a partner."  Pass out the individual pieces of paper with "My dog does tricks when I give him a treat."  First, I would like you to read the sentence out loud to your partner.  Then reread the sentence silently to yourself five more times.  Make sure that it makes sense.  Next, read the sentence our loud to your partner again.  Then ask your partner if it sounded better the first time you read it or the last.  What made it sound better?"

#4 – Provide each group with a decodable book, stopwatch, and progress board.  "Now let’s try this with a book!  As you read the book your partner is going to time you for one minute.  Read as many words as you can during that minute.  If you come to a word that you don’t know, try sounding it out and then reading the rest of the sentence.  If you still can’t figure the word out, ask your partner for help.  After the minute, you will count all the words that you read.  Write that number in the first space of your board.  Next, add ten to your number and write the new number in the next space.  Keep doing this until each space on your board is filled.  These numbers will be your goals for each reading.  For example, the number in the third space will be your goal for the third reading.  I can’t wait to see how much faster you get with each rereading!

:  Conduct a one-minute read with each student.  Compare the results with the student's progress board.


Adams, M.J. (1990).  Beginning to Read:  Thinking and Learning about Print.

            University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Atkins, Angela.  "How Fast Can You Go?"


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